Back in August, we heard that the city of Virginia Beach was working on a proposal for an NBA arena, potentially trying to attract the Kings to move from Sacramento to Virginia. While Kings officials denied being involved in talks with Virginia Beach at the time, rumors continue to persist.
The latest update on Virginia Beach's $350MM arena plan comes from Aaron Applegate of the Virginian-Pilot, who says the arena proposal is "moving forward with behind-the-scenes meetings." Warren Harris, the city's director of economic development tells Applegate that a representative from an NBA team eyeing a move has met with Virginia governor Bob McDonnell and city officials. While Harris declined to name the team, Applegate cites multiple source who say that the governor and Virginia Beach mayor Will Sessoms have met with Kings ownership.
A spokesman for the Kings declined comment both to Applegate and to Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee, who also looked into the rumors linking the Kings to Virginia Beach. Sessoms told the Bee reporters that there is a professional team "very interested" in moving to Virginia Beach, but Kings co-owner Joe Maloof offered a simple "no" when he was asked if the Kings had met with Governor McDonnell.
According to both the Pilot and Bee reports, Sessoms intends to update Virginia Beach City Council on Tuesday regarding the ongoing talks about the potential terms of an arena financing deal. With voters in Virginia Beach reportedly not sold on the idea of building a new arena, the city hasn't made as much progress as Seattle, where Chris Hansen's arena proposal has already been approved by both city and county councils.